25th April 2017. Students of Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram led an awareness campaign against depression in a village of Dhanora which is located 6 Km away from Sevagram.
Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. The students carried out a campaign on ‘Depression: let’s talk’ - which also happens to be WHO’s theme for 2017. The motto of the campaign was to sensitize people on the topic and make them seek help.
Earlier in February, Bioethics Unit was established at MGIMS by UNESCO Chair in Bioethics (Haifa) and this campaign became its first formal activity.
The Awareness Campaign staged an emotional role play revolving around the life of two depressed people - a farmer, who was under financial stress - and a housewife who was a victim of domestic violence. The villagers were shown how simple means of talking and sharing the miseries helped the housewife fight against her own depression while on the other hand how keeping the sorrows buried in oneself made the farmer end his life by committing suicide. The role play highlighted the importance of talking with family and friends in order to combat depression. Further, the play also tried to reduce the evil of social stigma and educated the villagers to access medical care to live healthy and productive lives.
One of the students shared her own story where the stress of studies and examination brought depression in her life. She narrated how she fought with her then mental state and how stronger she finds herself now.
A group discussion was also organised where the students lent their patient ears to the villagers, heard their stories and cleared their doubts. The discussion created a huge impact on the people who had learnt how to fight this melancholy and seek attention if required. A rally involving locals and kishori panchayat girls along with the social workers and students was also held in the village. Orange silicon bands were distributed to the people who were actively involved.
When asked “what inspires you to carry out such noble activities?”, Akshay Yadav (2013), gave the entire credit to the rural based learning provided by the institute to the students. “We plan to continue such activities to educated people in future as well”, confirmed Nikhil Honale (2014).
The campaign was organized by a bunch of medical students from MGIMS (Akshay S Yadav(2013), Nikhil A Honale(2014), Anik Pal(2013), Atharva Kokaje(2016), Sarang Bombatkar(2013), Abdul Boringwala(2013), Sujay Srivastav(2016), Ajay Kedar(2016), Cheryl Mankar(2016), Simran Raka(2016), Shreya Namjoshi(2016), Ananta Zanwar(2016), Prachi Kamble(2016), Apurva Potharkar(2015), Hema Sathya(2015), Anvita Ugalmugle(2014), Geetica Agrawal(2016)). The social workers from the department of Community Medicine also supported the campaign. The students were extremely elated and expressed their gratitude to Dr Abhisekh Raut and Dr Samir Yelwatkar for their cooperation in making this campaign a big success.